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Couples Swept Away in a Nutshell
How important is a great beach to your vacation? If you'd like to experience Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, considered by many to be the finest stretch of sand in Jamaica, you can do so at Couples Swept Away. It’s not the newest or poshest place, nor the most well-decorated all-inclusive in town, but vacationers have the sand literally at their doorstep.
Couples Swept Away is about an hour and a half drive from the airport at Montego Bay. The ride, in a van provided by the resort as part of its all-inclusive package, is on a smooth two lane highway—sometimes the going is a bit slow depending on traffic and intermittent road construction. Look to the right side to see the Caribbean; on the left view the green mountains of the most rugged part of Jamaica.
The resort is just off the main road, and on the far side of the lobby is what guests come for: the beach. It is wide, picturesque, the sand is white and powder soft, and the Caribbean provides perfect swimming.
For those more inclined to... fresh water, there are two medium-size swimming pools and a large lap pool. There is no au natural beach at Couples Swept Away (as there are at other Couples properties) but as this adults-only resort attracts Europeans as well as Americans, going topless is an unself-conscious option for those so inclined.
Initially getting around Couples Swept Away can seem daunting — the property covers 27 acres — but it doesn’t take long to figure out how to get from dining rooms to beach and from the room to the fitness center and spa and from there to snack bars. It takes only a little exploring and, for the directionally challenged, Couples Swept Away provides a map.
See a Room >Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Guest Rooms at Couples Swept Away
If you plan to spend a lot of time in your room on vacation, you may be disappointed by the digs; they're tired and uninspired. The Original Suites at Couples Swept Away were opened in 1985. Ten years later the resort added Verandah Suites.
Couples Swept Away houses guests in a series of two and three-story villas, adding up to 312-rooms. There are beachfront (right on the beach), ocean view (a partial view, really), and garden view rooms, some of which, unfortunately, stand next to the road.
Rooms are mid-sized and on the plain, nearly rustic side. There is none of the splash of Caribbean color. Bathrooms are utilitarian. Most rooms have a flat-screen TV and a safe.
All-inclusive minibars are well stocked with Jamaica’s world-renowned Appleton rum, as well as gin, vodka, Scotch, red wine, beer, soda, and all the sides for a mixed drink.
Rooms in Original Suites do have larger verandahs, with hammocks. Those in the Verandah Suites section are too small to accommodate hammocks.
Original... Suites have screened windows allowing for fresh breezes, while the windows in the Verandah Suites are sealed. Also, because units in the Verandah Suite are four across, the center rooms in this section have no windows in front, only sliding doors.
The largest building on property, the Great House (which also contains two restaurants, the Internet café, and the gaming room), has several guest rooms with Jacuzzis. These are the only in-room Jacuzzis in the resort.
Food at the Resort >Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Dining at Couples Swept Away
Food is plentiful and generally well prepared but not outstanding at Couples Swept Away, except for the breakfasts —which are great.
There are several ala carte and buffet restaurants at Couples Swept Away. Guests can dine on an open air patio or relax in air-conditioined Feathers restaurant.
The highlight for us was breakfast at the airy Palms Restaurant, on the beach. One section is devoted to Jamaican dishes (a fish stew, one morning, for example); another is the egg station, which is next to pitchers of fresh juices (soursop, aka guanabana, was a local specialty one day), scrumptious yogurt, fresh berries local fruits, and Jamaican coffee from the Blue Mountains.
Pancakes, bacon and sausage and pastries are adequate. There also is muesli, oatmeal, dried cereals and Jamaican honey, a treat worth bringing home from a duty-free shop at the Montego Bay airport.
For those who prefer being served, Couples Swept Away’s Patio Restaurant has an a la carte breakfast menu, serving specialties... such as omelets with prosciutto and basil or crab and scallion.
After breakfast, fruit kebobs are available at the beach while guests enjoy the sun and sand. Lunch is light at Couples Swept Away’s little café, Sea Grapes. Another come-as-you-are lunch restaurant with a similar menu is the Cabana Grill. A more serious lunch offering is at the Patio, where guests have to cover up a bit more.
We ate a meal at Lemon Grass, the Thai restaurant at Couples Swept Away, sharing a tasting platter for two that included crab roll, chicken satay and coconut shrimp.
At Feathers restaurant we ordered seafood bouillabaisse in saffron broth. But the best idea for dinner here is to stick to the evening buffets, which offer variety and include some traditional Jamaican dishes, such as rice and peas.
Weddings at the Resort >Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Destination Weddings at Couples Swept Away
More than 800 weddings and vow renewals are performed at Couples Swept Away each year, with most couples coming from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, or Italy.
Couples Swept Away can provide a Christian marriage officiant (non-denominational; Catholics generally go to the church for their ceremony) or a rabbi plus licenses and other documents required to make an island marriage legal.
Couples Swept Away features numerous ceremony sites on the beach, in the gardens, or in the restaurants for the vows and the party afterward. The reception hall in the Great House can accommodate up to 200 people. The resort maintains a wedding concierge stateside and an attentive coordinator to take care of the details on site.
Honeymoons Romance >Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Honeymoon/Romance Packages at Couples Swept Away
The management at Couples Swept Away encourages potential honeymooners and those looking for a romantic Caribbean vacation to visit the message board on the Couples Swept Away web site and to join a Couples Swept Away Honeymooners Club on Facebook.
The resort holds a weekly honeymooners gathering where newlyweds can meet other couples. Its Oasis Spa, in addition to couples massages, offers a free couples massage class viewable on YouTube.
Another romantic touch: It is possible to arrange a private candlelight dinner on the beach.
Activities >Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Activities at Couples Swept Away
Given the superb beach at Couples Swept Away, the quintessential activities are a stroll along the sand, watching parasailing from the comfort of a chaise lounge, and dipping in the water, followed by a well-deserved nap.
Upping the ante from the somnolent, there is volleyball, bocce, and paddle beach ball at the south end of the beach, all of which seem to be engaged in without score or rules.
At the north end is the water sports center where equipment is available for the asking. Couples Swept Away provides Hobie Cats, kayaks, Water Beetles, wind surfers, and Sunfish sailboats. Lessons are provided free for the unskilled. There are glass-bottom boat trips and, for those who prefer putting their faces in the water, snorkeling trips.
Guests at Couples Swept Away can work up a sweat at the Sports Complex, set on 10 acres across the street from the rest of the property. There is a large, well-equipped gym, an exercise room, tennis courts, squash and racquetball courts, and a walking course.... A large lap pool is located between the gym and the spa.
Like to golf? Green fees and transportation to a nearby course are free to guests.
There are also nightly shows. We saw a troupe of drummers and dancers, a contortionist, and (how could this be the Caribbean without it?) a limbo dancer.
A Jamaican Delicacy >Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Nearby Couples Swept Away
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica. We’ve had jerk chicken in the US and couldn’t see what the fuss was about. We found what we were craving at a jerk joint at Bourbon Beach, about a five-minute drive from Couples Swept Away, and devoured a pile of the deliciously succulent chicken that had been marinated in spices (most notably allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers) and cooked over aromatic wood. We saw the light.
Also a short distance away from Couples Swept Away is Rick's Café, world-famous as the place where people gather to watch cliff jumpers and spectacular sunsets.
Room for Improvement >Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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What Could Be Better at Couples Swept Away
Couples Swept Away is in need of refurbishment with, at the very least, new furniture and a paint job. Chipped stairs in some buildings also need attention. We’ve been to two other Couples Resorts and found the rooms to be much more inviting.
Fortunately we didn’t have rainy days while we were at Couples Swept Away. If we had, the room is not a place where we would have wanted to spend much time.
Yet 40 percent of the guests at the resort are repeat customers, so the property does appeal to many vacationers.
Bottom Line >Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Couples Swept Away Vibe
Couples Swept Away attracts a less rambunctious clientele than other all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach. The property appeals to couples of all ages who are interested in relaxation and fitness. Other all-inclusive resorts may be for those who dream of endless booze and partying; Couples Swept Away is for adults from their 20s on up who appreciate a simple, low-key beach vacation.
While Couples Swept Away offers more all-inclusive features than others so advertised (there is no charge for the minibar, for example, and tipping is strictly prohibited), the attraction here is friendliness, quiet, and a good staff. Put a flag up next to your chair on the beach and within minutes your order is taken. Wondering about the fruit displayed at the bar? Here, take a taste.
Couples Swept Away is basically a place with hammocks and chaise lounges and drinks beside the blue sea. And because the beach faces west, there are gorgeous sunsets over clear water just about every night.
Book a Trip or... Check the Rates >Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Couples Swept Away Information and Reservations
Couples Swept Away
P.O. Box 3077
Norman Manley Blvd.
Westmoreland, Jamaica, WI
Couples Swept Away Web Site